Rise and Shine is an interesting game. Its side-scrolling, twin-stick shooter element is utilised in a unique way during some puzzles throughout. Solutions aren’t always obvious and I applaud its insistence on making the player consider the game’s bullet types for more than just destruction. That said, during the Rise and Shine Review, I found the difficulty to be frustrating at times.
Not only that, but its a surprisingly short experience. Brief games are often welcome in my line of work, but the speed at which I finished Rise and Shine surprised me. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the video game history-inspired world and the art direction, amongst other things.
Check out my detailed thoughts on the game below and feel free to drop me a Disqus Comment at the end.
Look and Feel
Rise and Shine has an endearing cartoon look to it (no surprise, coming out of Adult Swim Games’ publishing arm). That said, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the game’s visuals, sound or otherwise. It’s set against static backdrops that look fine. It’s all nice to look at, even if there’s not much to make a point about and it performs well.
The game’s visuals do pay homage to games of the past. An important character bears a striking resemblance to Marcus Fenix of Gears of War fame. A kingdom you’ve been tasked to reach will be easily recognised as you approach it. There’s a wink and a nod to video games all over the place, though it’s hardly subtle about it. I enjoyed the references all the same.
One quick shout-out to the animation of Rise when he shoots Shine. Shine is a revolver with an eye-ball and the shots are clearly quite heavy. Too much for Rise’s small body, so much so that the recoil pushes Rise back as he lets off one bullet at a time.
Space grunts have invaded Gamearth. In the process of protecting people at a local mall, the legendary hero is killed. As he dies, he hands ownership of “Shine” over to Rise; a young boy he’d managed to save. Shine gives its owner the ability to respawn after death (I know; I don’t know why the Legendary Hero died permanently either!) and also: it can talk. (Note: there’s no voice acting in the game, just the odd note and grunt of characters in conversation with text to read).
Rise must save Gamearth from the space grunt invasion by the NexGen group. Get it? References! The game is filled with them. It’s a bit grating in its insistence on reminding you it’s inspired by gaming history, but it has moments that resonate by using that trope too. The good outweighs the bad and the bad isn’t around long enough to be that annoying.
Honestly, I’m not sure why it couldn’t have been voice acted. I think voice acting would have helped give the game a more lasting impression. There’s no real resonance between Rise and Shine due to Shine being thoroughly unlikable though, so I’m thankful Shine didn’t have a voice. Ultimately the story serves its purpose. Although it’s shockingly short, I found myself wanting hear the story of Rise. He’s an adorable kid.
Rise and Shine’s best element is its gameplay, but it could be too punishing for some. One or two shots is all it can take to kill Rise and some battles are excruciating to play through again.
To detail the moment-to-moment gameplay: Rise and Shine features 2D side-scrolling combined with a twin-stick shooter with a torrent of bullets being pelted at you. Hold LT, aim with the right stick and let loose with Shine’s revolver-like heavy, single shots. Take out enemy bots and space grunts, some with protective shields and others with poison bullets. An interesting element of the game is being able to shoot bullets out of the sky to protect yourself.
When you’re not in battle, shooting traps to avoid instant death or dashing past incoming missiles, you’ll be solving puzzles using remote controlled or sticky-bomb bullets and switching between standard and electric ammunition.
It may sound simple, but switching between bullet load-outs in the heat of battle forces a positive kind of pressure. The joy of successfully multi-tasking your way out of a harsh combat situation or solving a tricky RC puzzle mid-boss fight is hard to match.
There are two major draw-backs to Rise and Shine: its length and difficulty spikes. In regards to the length, I’d say Rise and Shine took me three hours at best to complete. Though it has an Iron Man mode to complete afterwards, it’s still a short campaign by any standard. It’s not like Inside or Journey, with a point to make that benefits from a short campaign length. Though, perhaps due to how difficult some set pieces can be, the short length keeps the difficulty from out-staying its welcome.
Though you’re likely to die a lot, the load times between deaths and respawns are fairly quick. The one downside is sometimes a death can set you back to the beginning of a battle, and that death can sometimes feel a bit cheap.
At its starting price of £11.99, I’d say Rise and Shine is worth a shot (no pun intended). It has its charms, the sense of accomplishment is high and it won’t take up too much of your time. That said, if you’re after a meaty experience or something easier on the thumbs, Rise’s side-scrolling bullet hell “death-in-one-or-two-hits approach” may not be to your tastes.
About This Rise And Shine Review
Game Reviewed: Rise and Shine Digital Download
Format: Xbox One